STACY ROST

Rost: Seahawks’ D can finally celebrate individual wins after getting right

Oct 17, 2022, 12:31 AM | Updated: 11:46 am

Seahawks...

Quinton Jefferson and Darrell Taylor celebrate during the Seahawks' win over Arizona on Oct. 16, 2022. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

The Seahawks’ defense finally got right in Sunday’s win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Seahawks Instant Reaction: Seattle Sports on 19-9 win over Arizona

And while there are plenty of questions – namely, whether they can do this again – the point that matters most this week is that Pete Carroll’s defense proved it’s capable of shutting down a dynamic quarterback. Regardless of the Cardinals’ record or injuries, that’s a big first step (and a much-needed one) for Seattle this season. It also makes it easier to celebrate individual wins, something that’s been hard for this defense to do when it’s been getting gashed for 150 rushing yards per game.

The Seahawks sacked Arizona’s Kyler Murray six times and kept the Cardinals’ offense out of the end zone through four quarters. Arizona was able to convert some key third downs on its first two drives, including two with explosive plays (something Seattle has been struggling with), but the defense buckled down in the red zone.

Arizona finished with more total yards (315) than Seattle, but it was for naught when the Cardinals couldn’t punch it in the end zone.

Another reason for that? Losing the turnover battle. Arizona lost one fumble (forced by rookie Coby Bryant and recovered by fellow rookie corner Tariq Woolen) and Murray threw an interception. That one was picked off by Woolen, making it his fourth in as many games.

That fourth interception for Woolen ties him with Richard Sherman and John Harris for most picks in a season by a Seahawks rookie and is one short of tying Earl Thomas and Michael Boulware for first place. Two more interceptions would mark a new franchise record for picks by a rookie.

“I don’t even know what to tell you about our pups, man,” Pete Carroll told reporters about Seattle’s rookie DBs. “To be hawking the ball like they are, what an exposition of their makeup, the way they play, their focus on the ball, their ability to make the plays when they’re given those opportunities. And really they’re finding those opportunities, both Coby and Tariq. It’s just exciting to watch and to see it. I don’t remember feeling like this about a young corner out there who goes week after week after week, coming from where he came from and all that, and to be this far along and having this much fun and success and all that. It’s really fun to watch.”

Rookie CB Tariq Woolen proving Seahawks struck fifth-round gold again

It’s the victory (and the dominating performance by the defense) that allowed Seattle to celebrate those individual wins a bit more. Seattle’s been getting good production from its rookies, but it’s been hard to heap too much praise on a silver lining of an otherwise ugly start to the season for the unit. Seattle is allowing more yards (430) than any other teams this year and more points (30) than all but one.

What fans saw Sunday against Arizona was more solid play from Bryant and Woolen, but this time accompanied by a much better pass rush.

As hinted by Carroll postgame, this kind of game could be more the norm than an aberration for the Seahawks if they get a handful of contributions from others more often.

“I’m surprised they’ve been so consistent,” Carroll said. “If we get a few more guys involved in knocking the ball around and picking them up and all that, we’ll be really rolling.”

Recap: Defense steps up, late TD helps Seahawks beat Cards 19-9

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Rost: Seahawks’ D can finally celebrate individual wins after getting right